1. Māori Language in Education
Why this is a focus area
Education is a key vehicle to revitalise and sustain the Māori language and is critical in enabling the Crown to meet its Treaty obligations to strengthen and protect the Māori language.
Te reo Māori is a cornerstone of Māori culture and identity. Learning in and through Māori language is an important way for Māori students to participate in Te Ao Māori, and it supports students to connect with their identity as Māori. This is a strong foundation for well-being and achievement.
Providing all students access to Māori language in education is a key ingredient of the education system. High quality provision, leadership, teaching and learning, supported by effective governance is necessary for success in this focus area.
Stakeholders in Māori Language in Education
Iwi uphold a critical role as kaitiaki of Māori language in all Māori language in education options. The strongest Māori language in education pathways are those embedded in homes and communities, on marae and, most importantly, within whānau. Ambitions for the Māori language will only be achieved when education is coupled with active intergenerational language transmission, in homes and communities.
Productive partnerships among education professionals, iwi, whānau and communities are critical to achieving high quality outcomes for students of Māori language in education. Whānau are the main constituents of iwi in a social context; they have the single greatest influence on students' achievement. Education professionals, including teachers and leaders, have the greatest influence in an education setting.
The Ministry of Education, ERO and education sector agencies play an important role in supporting Māori language acquisition and revitalisation in the early learning, primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors. Their role includes providing funding, resources, support and information, and developing policies and regulations.
Tau Mai Te Reo – the Māori Language in Education Strategy 2013-2017 underpins the Māori Language in Education focus area of Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013-2017. It sets the framework for investment, identifies key priorities and strengthens government accountability for Māori language in education outcomes.
|Tau Mai Te Reo||Kia tau te reo - Supporting Māori language in education: delivering strong, coordinated effort and investment|
|Focus Areas||Work with and for iwi, communities and Māori language providers to support Māori language in education||Strengthen and grow the Māori medium sector and networks||Support Māori language in the English medium sector||Build the evidence base for Māori language and Mātauranga Māori||Increase accountability for Māori language in education|
Tau Mai Te Reo seeks to ensure a connected and cohesive approach to the Ministry of Education's, ERO's and education sector agencies' contributions towards supporting and strengthening the Māori language.
Māori Language in Education: An Overview
The goals, priorities and actions for Māori language in education are integrated across the focus areas of Ka Hikitia.
Early Childhood Education
Te Whāriki is the curriculum for all licensed early childhood education (ECE) services, kōhanga reo and playgroups. It is a bicultural document written in both English and te reo Māori for services in each medium. Te Whariki provides a strong basis for teachers and leaders to promote aspects of Māori language and culture in early learning environments.
Ka Hikitia aims that all Māori parents and whānau are accessing their choice of high quality early childhood education. The key actions for achieving this in terms of Māori language in education are increasing the supply and quality of Māori medium early childhood education and promotion of the benefits of Māori language in education. The measured outcome for the success of these actions is the supply and the demand for Māori medium early childhood education.
Primary and Secondary Education
The demand for Māori language education pathways in primary and secondary education is an indicator of the accessibility and perceived value of te reo Māori in education. The Ka Hikitia goal is that, by 2015, 22% of all students will participate in Māori language in primary and secondary education.
In primary education, Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori describe the literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge that students in years one to eight Māori medium education are expected to gain. It is critical for the strengthening and protection of the Māori language that students who study in Māori medium education achieve at least at an equivalent level to those who do not. Therefore, Ka Hikitia sets the goal that, by 2017, 85% of Māori students will be achieving at or above their appropriate Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori in literacy and numeracy.
Developing Māori language in tertiary education is important for ensuring strong educational pathways for learners in the future. Increasing the number of qualified immersion or bilingual teachers will improve the accessibility and quality of Māori language in education. Therefore Ka Hikitia has set goals of increasing the number of people participating in and completing Māori language qualifications and immersion or bilingual initial teacher education.
In order to realise the vision of an education system which supports Māori students to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori, the Ministry of Education, ERO and education sector agencies must lead, coordinate and support the implementation of Tau Mai Te Reo and Ka Hikitia across the education system.
In practice, this means that these agencies must incorporate both strategies into their planning and accountability processes.
Māori language in education provision in the early learning and schooling sectors consists of two streams. These are Māori medium education and Māori language in English medium education. They are distinct and likely to deliver varying language outcomes for learners.
Early learning Sector (0 – 6 yrs)
Schooling Sector (5 – 16+ yrs)
Māori language stream
Te Kōhanga Reo (100%)
Kura Kaupapa Māori – section 155 (100%)
Māori medium education (MME)
Level 1: 81-100% of the time spoken
Level 1: the curriculum is taught in / through the use of Māori language 81-100% of the time
Level 2: 51-80% of the time spoken
Level 2: the curriculum is taught in / through the use of Māori language 51-80% of the time
Level 3: 21-50% of the time spoken
Level 3: the curriculum is taught in / through the use of Māori language 31-50% of the time
Māori language in English medium education
Level 4: 12-20% of the time spoken
Level 4a: the curriculum is taught in / through the use of Māori language 12-30% of the time
Level 4b: the learner is learning Māori language as a separate subject for at least 3hrs per week
Level 5: the learner is learning Māori language as a separate subject for less than 3hrs per week
Māori Language in Early Childhood Education
Where we want to go: Ka Hikitia Goals and Actions
- All Māori students have access to high quality Māori language in early childhood education.
- All parents and whānau are providing high quality early learning experiences (education and language).
- ERO reports on the quality of Māori Medium early childhood education will improve.
- The number of Māori medium early childhood services will increase.
- The proportion that te reo Māori is incorporated into English medium services will increase.
- The number of children enrolled in Māori medium early childhood education will increase.
Where We Are: 2015 Data
Quality of Māori Medium ECE
In 2010 the Education Review Office (ERO) report "Success for Māori Children in Early Childhood Services" identified understanding and responsiveness to the expectations of whānau Māori as one of the biggest challenges for early childhood managers and educators.
In February 2012, an ERO national evaluation "Partnership with Whānau Māori in Early Childhood Education" found that, while 78% of early childhood services built positive relationships with whānau, only 10% had built effective and culturally responsive partnerships.
The ERO evaluation recommended that ECE services needed systematic self review to achieve this, alongside professional development for most early childhood educators to give full effect to Te Whāriki and help Māori children achieve their potential. Accordingly, an increase to 85% of ECE services working in partnership with whānau Māori was set as a goal for Ka Hikitia, Accelerating Success 2013-2017. Unfortunately the 2012 ERO evaluation has not been repeated to date, and thus the progress toward the target of improved partnerships between ECE services and whānau Māori cannot be measured in this report.
Availability of Māori Medium Early Childhood Education
Overall, the availability of Māori Medium early childhood education, in terms of number of service providers and the proportion of providers which are MME has decreased between 2002 and 2010. It has stabilised since 2010 at approximately 12% of providers offering Māori medium early childhood education.
It should be noted that in 2011 the maximum number of children allowed on one ECE license was increased from 50 to 150. Previously some larger centres held multiple licenses. This may explain the decrease in the number of ECE services in 2012 (see figure 1.2)
This increase in maximum capacity means that the 484 MME providers of 2014 have a much greater enrolment capacity than the 485 providers of 2010. However any increase in the availability of MME is theoretical only. A comparison of 20131 to 2010 shows that there were 8 more MME ECE providers and 145 more children enrolled in 2013. This suggests that the numbers of children enrolled in each centre has not changed significantly.
Figure 1.1: Number & percent of ECE Services in which te reo Māori is the primary language (2002-2014)
Since 2010 the number of Māori Medium ECE services has fluctuated between 484 and 497. In contrast the number of non-Māori Medium ECE services increased steadily between 2002 and 2011 with larger increases in the number of services with the lowest levels of te reo Māori.
Between 2002 and 2010 there was a steady decrease in the number of Māori Medium early childhood education (ECE) providers and in the proportion of all ECE services which were MME. Most of this decrease was from the closure of services where te reo Māori is spoken 81-100% of the time.
Figure 1.2: Number of service providers, by percentage of time te reo Māori is spoken (2002-2014)
Māori Enrolment in Māori Medium Early Childhood Education
Enrolment with an early childhood provider is a choice.
The number of children whose whānau/caregivers have made this choice is indicative of the numbers for whom MME ECE is available, accessible and valued as being of benefit.
That this set of conditions for Māori Medium education be met is a prerequisite for the protection and revitalisation of the Māori language.
The total number of Māori enrolled in ECE services has increased steadily since 2002 (see figure 1.3).
In contrast, the number of Māori students enrolled in Māori Medium early childhood education decreased by 1,367 children between 2002 (10,831 enrolments) and 2010 (9,464 enrolments).
During this time the number of Māori Medium ECE providers decreased by 80 providers.
Figure 1.3: Enrolments in Early Childhood Education (ECE) Services by medium (2002-2014)1
Since 2010, the proportion of all ECE services which are Māori Medium has remained relatively constant (11-12%) while the number of services has fluctuated (see figure 1.1) and the number of Māori enrolled has increased slightly to 9,609 (2013*).1 At the same time, the total number of Māori children enrolled in ECE has increased, and therefore a lower proportion of Māori are enrolled in Māori Medium education. This trend would need to be reversed to achieve the outcome of improving the access to Māori medium early childhood education.
Figure 1.4: Māori Enrolments in Māori Medium ECE Services by immersion level(2002-2014)1
Māori Language in Primary and Secondary Education
Where we want to go: Ka Hikitia Goals and Actions
- All Māori students are engaged in quality teaching and learning experiences.
- All stakeholders with a role to play in Māori education success:
- Have high expectations for all Māori students.
- Are sharing and growing knowledge and evidence of what works.
- Are collaborating to achieve excellent education and Māori language outcomes.
- All Māori students have access to learning pathways of their choice that lead to excellent education and Māori language outcomes.
All Māori students have access to high quality Māori language in compulsory education.
Ka Hikitia set a goal of increasing participation in Māori language in education to 22% of all students in 2015. Participation is where students are, as a minimum, learning te reo Māori as a separate subject, and at the highest level are being taught the curriculum in or through te reo Māori 81-100% of the time.
It is also important to measure the participation by Māori in Māori Medium Education (MME) at a primary and secondary schooling level. The uptake by Māori of Māori medium primary and secondary education (MME) is indicative of the accessibility and perceived value of te reo Māori in education. Achievement levels in Māori medium education are an indication of how well this pathway is serving these students.
- By 2015, 22% of all students will participate in Māori language in education (primary and secondary education).
- By the end of 2017 85% of Māori students will be achieving at or above their appropriate Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori in literacy and numeracy
Where we are: 2015 and 2016 data
Participation in Māori Language in Primary and Secondary Education
The target that 22% of all students will participate in Māori language in education was met in 2015, when 22.2 of all students in years 1-13 participated in Māori language in education at levels 1-5. We have since seen a further increase to 22.8% in 2016. This means that 179,825 students were learning in and through the Māori language, at least as a separate subject (level 5), and up to 100% of the time (level 1). The proportion of all students participating in Māori language in education (levels 1-5) has increased steadily each year since 2010 (19.5%).
Figure 1.5a: Percentage of all students participating in Māori language in education (2004-2016)
Of all Māori students in years one to thirteen, 40.9% (76,789 students) were participating in Māori language in education in 2016. This is an increase of 3,514 students (0.9 percentage points) from 2015.
Māori Participation in Māori Medium Education (MME)
The number of Māori students in Māori medium Education (MME) decreased from 17,143 (10.6% of Māori students) in 2006 to 15,916 in 2010 (9.4% of Māori students). Since 2010, the number of students in MME has increased each year to 18,054 in 2016, which equates to 9.6% of all Māori students. Approximately two thirds of these MME students each year since 2006 have been enrolled in level one MME (learning in or through the Māori language 81-100% of the time).
In 2016, 82 % of Māori MME students were in primary education (years 1-8). This is a typical proportion; since 2006 primary age students have made up 82% to 85% of all MME students.
Figure 1. 5b: Percentage of Māori students participating in Māori language in education by immersion level (2004-2016)
Achievement in Māori Medium Education in Years One to Eight (2015-2016)
Kura and schools using Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (the national curriculum for Māori medium) reported their results for Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori for the fourth year in 2016. Over 99% of students that are assessed under Ngā Whanaketanga are Māori, and so there is no comparison ethnic group. Due to a large difference in the sample of schools that supplied data over the last five years and an update in assessments, only the past three years of data are consistent enough to allow a comparison between years.
Excluding Pānui, the 2016 results show a decrease the proportion of students assessed as manawa ora or manawa toa (at or above the standard), compared to 2015. However, the proportion of students assessed as manawa ora or manawa toa in Pānui has increased for the third consecutive year.
Figure 1.6: Percentage of year 1-8 students manawa ora or manawa toa (at or above) the Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori (2015-2016)
Literacy Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori (2016)
Achievement in the literacy Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori areas was strongest for pānui (69.0%), followed by kōrero (59.8%) and tuhituhi (58.0%). Pānui was the only subject to show an increase in achievement since 2015 (0.5 percentage points). Achievement in kōrero and tuhituhi decrease by 3.2 and 1.8 percentage points respectively since 2015.
Since 2015, the largest improvement was a 1.3 percentage point increase in the proportion of males manawa ora or manawa toa for pānui (63.8% in 2016). Girls continue to achieve at a higher proportion than boys for every literacy subject. The proportion of girls manawa ora or manawa toa ranged from 64.9% (kōrero) to 74.1% (pānui), while the proportion of boys ranged from 50.0% (tuhituhi) to 63.8% (pānui).
Figure 1.7: Percentage of year 1-8 students manawa ora or manawa toa (at or above) the literacy Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori, by gender (2015-2016)
Numeracy Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori (2016)
The numeracy (pāngarau) component of Ngā Whanaketanga is made up of three categories: Te Ine me te Āhuahanga (Measurement/ Geometry), Te Tau me te Taurangi (Number/ Algebra) and Te Tauanga me te Tūponotanga (Statistics).
The achievement rate was strongest for Te Tau me te Taurangi (62.0% of students were manawa ora or manawa toa). There was a decrease in achievement across all three learning areas from 2015, with the largest decrease in Te Tauanga me te Tūponotanga to 53.4% (8.0% point decrease).
Although, as with the reo whanaketanga, a higher proportion of girls than boys were achieving at this level, the gender gap was narrower for the pāngarau subjects. It ranged from 5.7% points (Te Tau me te Taurangi) to 7.7% points (Te Tauanga me te Tūponotanga).
Figure 1.8: Percentage of year 1-8 students manawa ora or manawa toa (at or above) the numeracy Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori, by gender (2015-2016)
Achievement in Māori Medium Education in Years Nine to Thirteen
Māori who leave school from Māori medium secondary schools are more likely to stay in school until age 17, and more likely to have achieved NCEA Level 2 or above by the time they leave school.
Of the 13,385 Māori who left school in 2016 and were not in MME, 66.1% had achieved NCEA Level 2 or above. This is a 20.7 percentage point increase since 2009. Of these students, 70.7% had stayed in school until age 17 or above, which is a 8.3 percentage point increase since 2009 (see figure 1.10).
In the same time period, the percentage of Māori leaving school from MME who had achieved NCEA Level 2 increased by 24 percentage points. Of the 353 Māori leaving school from MME in 2016, 79.6% achieved NCEA Level 2 and 77.6% had stayed in school until age 17 or above.
It should be noted that the number of Māori leaving MME at a secondary school level is very small, only 2.6% of all Māori school leavers in 2016 (see figure 1.10). This is a decrease from 2015 (3.0%).
Figure 1.9: Percentage of Māori School Leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above, by medium of study (2009-2016)
Figure 1.10: Number of Māori school leavers, by medium of study (2009-2016)
Figure 1.11: Percentage of Māori school leavers remaining in school until age 17 or above, by medium (2009-2016)
Māori Language in Tertiary Education
Where we want to go: Ka Hikitia Goals and Actions
Of the four goals outlined in Ka Hikitia for tertiary education, one relates specifically to Māori language:
- Increase participation and completion in Māori language courses at higher levels, in particular to improve the quality of Māori language teaching and provision.
- The number of students enrolled in Māori language qualifications at a tertiary level increases.
- The number of tertiary students enrolled in Māori Medium Initial Teacher Education increases.
- The number and rate of students completing tertiary Māori language qualifications increases.
Where we are: 2014 and 2015 data
There were 12,130 domestic students enrolled in te reo Māori at a tertiary level in 2008 3
This number decreased sharply by 3,935 students from 2008 to 2011, with 8,195 enrolled in in 2011. Since 2011, the number of students enrolled in te reo Māori qualifications has increased to 9,350 students in 2015.
Completions of te reo Māori tertiary qualifications have followed a similar pattern. From 3,975 students completing qualifications in 2007, there was a sharp increase to 6,260 students in 2009, followed by a similarly sharp decrease to 4,660 students in 2010. Overall the number of students completing tertiary level te reo Māori qualifications has trended upward. In 20154 5,005 students completed Māori language qualifications at a tertiary level.
Figure 1.12: Total number of domestic students enrolled in and completing tertiary te reo Māori qualifications3 (2007-2015)
The number of enrolments and completions in Māori Medium Initial Teacher Education increased by 235 enrolments and 140 completions since 2008, to 750 enrolments and 215 completions in 2014. 2 The bulk of these were in the primary sector (see figure 1.14). Total enrolments peaked in 2011 and 2012 at 990 students; they have decreased in 2013 and 2014. The data shows that the number and proportion of teachers completing their initial teacher training in Māori Medium has increased over the previous five years. The proportion of all ITE students enrolled in MME has remained constant (6% in 2012 to 2014). The proportion of all ITE completions which are in Māori Medium was 2% in 2008, and has trended upward since then, although it has fluctuated from year to year.
Figure 1.13: Total number of students enrolled in and completing Māori Medium Initial Teacher Education qualifications (2008-2014)4
Note:for figures 1.13 and 1.14, the sector of study and whether a student completed a Māori Medium programme has been derived from the underlying data and should be seen as indicative only.
Figure 1.14: Total number of students enrolled in and completing Māori Medium Initial Teacher Education qualifications, by sector (2008-2014)3
- Method of data collection for enrolments in ECE changed in 2014 and so it is not appropriate to compare 2014 data with previous years. See technical notes for an explanation of the change.
- This includes all students in a qualification with New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED) 091502. It does not include students enrolled in other qualifications taking te reo Māori courses.
- It should be noted that tertiary institutions can and do continue to return results for previous years, and so completion data is provisional only, particularly for the most recent years.
Where to find out more
For enquiries or more information about the content on this page, please email:
Information Officer Mailbox